Investment in Frog gave The Edron Academy its virtual school, giving teachers, students and parents a powerful platform called Edron Home Learning.
Three years’ ago, Mexico City suffered a massive earthquake and schools were closed for several weeks. Investment in Frog gave The Edron Academy its virtual school, giving teachers, students and parents a powerful platform called Edron Home Learning.
In building this platform, three elements were vital for effective, extended learning:
- Focus on blended learning;
- Integration of extra-curricular activities;
- Emphasis on wellbeing.
Blended Solutions Work Best
Pedagogically, Frog is a self-contained virtual sphere and a link to other platforms, enabling a mix of live and recorded lessons, with links to interactive subject software. This keeps learning engaging and varied. Teachers can focus on individual needs by timetabling small group support sessions, using linked video communications software, such as Zoom or Google Meet. Parents can oversee their children’s work without the burdens that home schooling often brings. Online learning must be engaging and effective so as to counter parental perceptions that it is an inferior substitute to traditional schooling.
Keep it moving
Away from school, children become more physically inactive: longer screen time, irregular sleep, and less favourable diets. Without activities and the interaction with friends, the negative effects on health are greater. Isolation breeds frustration and boredom. Lack of contact with classmates and teachers has enduring effects on mood and attitude. And the normal separation of spheres, school and home, suddenly abandoned, invades a child’s personal space and sense of freedom.
Frog has helped to construct social solutions of a virtual nature. Edron activity providers give home based exercise which all the family can do. Regular live lessons give Edron children a friendly face and some semblance of school. Duke of Edinburgh has moved online.
Well-being is the way
Whilst the academic and pastoral welfare of children has been the first focus of schools, the needs of parents, teachers and wider staff must not be overlooked. Mindful of the needs of all staff and parents, Frog is used to stage online activities, share useful articles and bring the community together, in parallel with zoned Whats App groups to check on staff wellbeing. All staff have access to professional counselling and full coverage of medical costs. In turn, teachers are stepping forward with sessions, such as Edron Master-Chef and Yoga for staff.
Simon O’Grady is an experienced international school leader. He has worked in five schools on four continents and has led three outstanding British international schools in Egypt, Malaysia and Mexico. He holds three academic degrees, including an MSc in Educational Leadership. He has served as a governor of two UK state schools and is a school inspector with the Independent Schools Inspectorate. He has been a Board Member of COBIS since 2008, with eight years as its treasurer, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.